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Showing posts from March, 2007

Win a Book! Share my Joy!

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Wahoooooo! My author's copies of ALL ABOUT EVIEarrived yesterday. It's a book! A real book! There's nothing like holding your hard work and dreams in your hands. Well, except for sharing that pleasure and joy with friends. So... I'm giving away two (2) copies of ALL ABOUT EVIE. It's not even in stores yet. Be the first on your block to read the first of three Evie adventures. Since Evie and Arch are movie fanantics, enter the drawing by commenting here and telling me your favorite 'classic' movie and, if you are so inclined, why it's your fave film.I'll draw two winners at random on Monday evening! Let the fun begin!

Personal Taste -- The Defining Factor

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Thank you to all who wrote in with their well wishes regarding the Top Pick review for All About Evie. It's so much sweeter when you can share your joy with others.
Speaking of reviews... Although I hope and wish from the bottom of my heart that everyone who reads this story will be equally delighted, my realistic side knows I'm bound to run across some tepid maybe even negative feedback. It's natural. Everything is subjective. People's taste vary on books, movies, music, vacation spots, brands of shoe... like I said, everything.
While working in the library last night, I overheard a patron saying to a co-worker, "Well, I'll have to disagree with you on this one. I didn't like it at all." He was returning a DVD, the movie Little Miss Sunshine. He hated it. She loved it. It wasn't just a guy/girl thing because I know men who loved the movie and women who could take it or leave it.
After he left, I said to my co-worker, "I loved Little Miss Suns…

Better than an Orgasm

Not really. But I thought that would grab your attention. *g* However, this did make me tingle all over and squeal with joy and excitement!

Remember when I said I started googling myself every day in hopes of finding pre-buzz or early reviews? Well, yesterday I tripped upon May reviews listed at the website for Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine. ALL ABOUT EVIEis listed as a Top Pick! 4 1/2 stars! Wahoo! And here is part of the amazing review that brought tears to my eyes.

"Everything about Ciotta's latest novel is fabulous: the lovable heroine, the sexy hero, the consistently humorous internal monologue, the smooth narration and the delightfully original plot. To use one of the hero's favorite words, it's "brilliant." The author is in full command of her storytelling skills, and she displays them masterfully. Here's hoping we'll be treated to a sequel." —Marilyn Weigel, Romantic Time BOOKreviews

*Squeeeeeeal!* I know I always say reviews are s…

Harlequin books seeks "real men" for covers...

Jeez, I don't post for days, now two posts in one morning. Can you believe it? But I just found this and HAD to share!

--Until now, the publisher (Harlequin) relied on modelling agencies to supply bodies for its concupiscent covers. But the readership -- predominantly female and averaging 42 years of age -- was upset when slight, young cover models clashed with the brawny, mature heroes described within.

"Some of the heroes are captains of industry, billionaires," said Deborah Peterson, a Harlequin creative designer and a judge at the audition. "A lot of the models were too young, men in their twenties ... and our audience likes men a little bit older, a bit bigger, than the runway models."--

Click hereto read the full article.

As a reader and writer in my 40s, I'll just say: Experienced, older, real men put the 'S' in sexy!

Manic, but Happy

I haven't been blogging regularly. I used to blog almost daily. But the 'To Do' list I often mention is out of control. Something's gotta give, meaning time has to come from somewhere. If I did blog regularly just now, you'd be getting a rundown of my day... daily. You don't want that. Really you don't.

Because I'm juggling a bazillion things, my mind is all over the place. Call me manic. I'm simultaneously overwhelmed and excited. These are exciting times. Here's a snippet of what I'm experiencing now and in the next few months.

*At the risk of boring you I won't list specifics, but I've been creating and organizing promo for All About Evie, a time intensive campaign that will continue for several weeks.

*I recently wrote and submitted three chapters of a new contemporary trilogy to my agent. If she likes what she reads, she'll submit that to my publisher and hopefully my publisher will be as keen on the story as I am and of…

Surfing for Info

Research. Every story I write involves research. Career, location, time period, fashion, transportation, weaponry. The list goes on.

I own quite a few research books on the medieval period, the American West and the Roaring twenties. Books on private detectives, protection specialist, and the FBI. Then there's my paranormal section; ghosts, reincarnation, witches, magic... The list goes on.

Since a person only has so much many to spend on books and only so much room to store them, I utilize the library a lot these days. I also use the Internet. This morning I clicked on my 'Favorites' which contains a list of sites I bookmarked. I smiled because I could tell what story I was working on by the way they were grouped.

Sites...
*History Timeline--Napa County Genealogy
*San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution
*California Pacific Railroad
Book...Romancing the West(coming 7/07)

Sites...
*Scottish Vernacular Dictionary
*Trafalgar Squarer-- Pubs and Bars
*The Baronage Registry
Book...Everybod…

Mid-Week Ramble

How can it be March 20 already? How? I feel like a broken record: Where does the time go? Where does the time time go? Where does the time go?

Yesterday, I left the island for the first time in weeks. I need new glasses. Well, not need so much as want. I want a new pair of glasses. Ones with black frames. So I went to our favorite eyeglass outlet and picked out a nifty new frame. I also took in my silver wire-rimmed pair and asked if they could tint them a little. Something different. I also have red frames and brown tinted glasses. All perscription. No, I don't need that many pair. I want that many. Since I have to wear them every dang day, I like variety. Speaking of, I have a hair appointment on Saturday. *g*

Except for the eyeglass expedition, I spent the rest of yesterday at the computer, writing and musing, musing and writing. It took me about nine hours to finish chapter two and start chapter three of a proposal for a new story, but it was worth it. I was pleased with the…

The Future of Storytelling

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If you visit this blog regularly, you've probably seen my sister Barb comments now and then. She's in the middle, age wise, of my five younger sisters. She also lives in the middle of the US, far from me, unfortunately, with her husband, Larry, and two adorable kids, my neice and nephew, Logan and Jax.

The other night Barb and I were speaking on the phone and Logan (4 going on 14) got on to update me on her life. Barb had just told me about how much Logan loves books and how she's already reading entire stories on her own. Mind you she's still in pre-school and she's already tackled Dr. Seuss and is moving beyond. Logan is one smart and talented cookie! She's also a fellow artistic soul.

"When I grow up," she told me, "I'm going to write books and be an author." I was amused and impressed and flattered because, hey, that's what I do! I promised her I would buy every one of her books and read all of her stories. I have no doubt she'…

Lucky Thoughts

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Due to work, I'll be out of blog-land for a couple of days. Have a fantastic weekend and a Happy St. Patricks Day. Wishing you good luck and good fortune!

It's Official!

Just because you choose a title for a story when you pitch it or even write it, that doesn't mean that title will actually end up on the book. I started writing the second Evie novel under the name Being Evie. It was a spin off of an old movie called Being Eve just as All About Evie is a spin off of the classic All About Eve. The title meant something to me because in this episode (so to speak) Evie is coming to better terms with her new life and mending things in her old life. However, when I was about midway through the story my editor informed me that the marketing team didn't go for Being Evie. She explained why. Two solid reasons that I totally understood. Henceforce, until we came up with a better title, we just referred to the book as Evie 2, even up to the point when I turned it in.

While writing the last quarter of Evie 2, I mulled over new titles, trying to stay true to Evie's obsession with movies and TV sitcoms--a spin off of something familiar. I submitted thre…

I'm Global!

I always love hearing from readers. This week I heard from a reader in Thailand! She read both Jinxed and Charmed which were translated by a publisher in Thailand. I've never seen these foreign issues. Perhaps someday I'll get that kick, but for now I'm tripping on BoBiz's delightful comments. It's truly fantastic to know that I entertained someone from so far away. It's also a bit surreal. Wow. I'm global. *g*

Connecting, Disconnecting, and Reconnecting

Heard back from one critique partner (Mary) and my agent (Amy) regarding the first chapter of the new proposal I'm writing. Both wrote back that they loved it. (Where's a happy dancing smiley face thingee when I need one?) Both said they laughed out loud. (A most excellent sign!) Amy suggested I embellish on some family background, which I did. Good call as it helps the reader to connect even more fully with the heroine and her personal crisis. It helped me, too. I had it in my head but it helped to put it on paper.

Then my sister Barb, one of my biggest fan--hee--and a avid reader, called and asked, "What are you doing?" A dangerous question if she was strapped for time, because I was deep into chapter two and on fire. I proceeded to tell her my new story idea and the more I talked the more my ideas blossomed. She kept saying things like, "Oh, that's funny" and "That's good" and even named my mobster for me. Yes, Barb, I'm going to use…

Knowing Me, Knowing Them

The first of two new story proposals is in the works. As noted in a previous post, I'm in the getting to know you phase. Although the occupations of the hero and heroine are unfamiliar to me, I'm emotionally tuned in to certain aspects of their backgrounds, personalities, dreams and goals. In order for the reader to care about the characters, I need to care about them as well. I need to connect in some way. The more I understand and respect that, the faster and truer the tale comes.

"Only write from your own passion, your own truth. That's the only thing you really know about, and anything else leads you away from the pulse." ~~Marianne Williamson

Introducing Shaun

The past few days have been a little lousy on the personal front. At times like this I'm always happy for anything that makes me smile. Like Shaun the Sheep! Steve sent me this linkto a website promoting a new show from the people who gave us Wallace and Grommit (which I love).

Like Shaun, I'm currently creating a new work of art. Happy to say it's going pretty well. Hey. Maybe it would go even better if I got one of those hats!

Getting to Know You

In the past year I wrote two books that revolved around characters from previous books. Each story challenged me for different reasons, but at least I went into them with old friends, characters I'd worked with before. The first three chapters of both of those books came with relative ease. It was after that the road got rocky.

On the flip side, I am now struggling with opening chapters featuring people I don't know from Adam. Three of the things on my 'To Do' list involve new stories. I need to write a partial (three chapters and a synopsis) for two different tales. One is a stand-alone novel. The other would be the first in a series of four... hopefully. I also need to write the synopsis for the third Evie book. The Evie synop is due by the end of this month. There is no firm deadline on the other two, but my goal is to have them done by the end of March as well because I MUST dive into writing the next contracted book--deadline August 1.

There's a freedom in wr…

How I Met My Mentor

Still ticking off items from my 'To Do' list. Yesterday included sending off a bio and pic to the eHarlequin team to be posted on the author indexat eHarlequin.comSince authors are listed alphabetically, I'll be just a couple of names down from my mentor, the gracious and dynamic Sandra Chastain. I got a real kick out of that. The story of how I met Sandra and what prompted her to take me under her wing is a fun one. I actually blogged about it once, but that was way back in 2004 (Have I really been blogging for 3 years?!). I tracked down the post at my old Bravenet blog. It was in fact a very long post about my first RT Convention. But here's the snippet telling how I met my mentor. Teaser: It involves a hunky guy and a stage. *g*

* * * Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 1994 ... At breakfast one morning, the woman sitting next to me said, "Excuse me for staring, but you look like the heroine featured on the cover of my latest book." I was stunned, and …

Whatever Works

Things are zipping along here in Ciotta-land. In the past three days I completed an extensive interview, finished reading and judging books for a contest, completed an art fact sheet for a future book, updated my website, started calculating taxes, and grocery shopped. This enabled me to cross off about 1/3 of the must-be-done-ASAP To-Do list. At least another third must be done by the end of this week and the other third by the end of this month.

I've found that the best way to tackle multitudes of simultaneous tasks, projects, assignments and what have you is to make a list and prioritize by deadline. Then just do it. Attack the list one-by-one. Cross off each task as completed. In this day and age, I'm sure there are all sorts of nifty computer programs designed to help you organize outstanding projects. But you know me and computers. I prefer the old-fashioned pen to paper approach. I like having that notepad on my desk in plain view at all times. As soon as I complete a ta…

Techno-Goober Strikes Again

Last night I was working on an act fact sheet,, details to be used by the art department when creating a cover, when all of a sudden my screen blanked to a message that said Windows Hibernating.... then the screen went black!

I tried to turn the computer back on but nada! My heart palpitated. Please don't tell me I just crashed my second laptop in less than a year. Why me? No matter how many times I tried to reboot nothing happened. My stomach turned. It's dead. Depressed, I picked up a book and tried to lose myself in someone else's story.

My husband got home from work abut ninety minutes later. He asked how my night went. I told him, "I think I killed my laptop." Again.

"What now?" he said as he started pushing buttons and checking various other things. All of a sudden I look over and my screen is lit up and displaying the document I'd had open before it died. Wahoo!

"What happened?" I asked.

He didn't roll his eyes, but I'm thinkin…

Read the First Chapter!

Warning: Blatant self-promotion.

I received the official okay from HQN to share an excerpt from All About Evie. Woo-hoo! Because of their generous allowance of word count and my spiffy tight writing (*g*), I can actually share the entire first chapter. Click hereto read!

Meanwhile, only 1 month and 26 days until Evie hits the shelves! Woo-hoo! Or you can pre-order NOW from any one of your favorite on-line bookstores. If you do pre-order I'll see it in my sales ranking and that would make my day. Hint-hint. :)

Coming soon, a fun give away to celebrate Evie's debut. Stay tuned.

Surviving Multiple Deadlines

I’m alive. Were you worried? Did you miss me? I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts except for when I went to London last year which, by the way, seems like a lifetime ago.

I would say it felt weird to forgo my morning ritual of blogging but that would be a lie. Truth is, I didn’t have the time or energy. I was stressed out of my gourd about finishing the contracted book on time and everything, aside from human necessities, fell through the cracks without my normally anal second thought. My week went something like this…

Saturday through Tuesday, I wrote 15-16 hours a day. Wednesday, I was supposed to work at the library, but I called out sick. I truly did feel sick, although I think it was due to lack of sleep and nerves, rather than a virus. Regardless, I wrote 15 hours that day too. Thursday, I went to work, but I had no voice so they sent me home two hours early. My editor needed the completed manuscript by Friday, 9-ish, because of a meeting, so I really needed t…